Old Vine Syrah in Mendocino

by on May 15, 2012

Recently, while touring the vineyards surrounding Hopland with Joe Golden of Golden Vineyards, he showed me some of the oldest Syrah plantings in the state. These vines are over 100 years old, and taller than I am!! They are still producing fruit, obviously very small amounts for their age. Hopefully one vintage in the future you might find a Barrel Club from this plot, but who knows?…..

The Physics of Wine Swirling

by on November 29, 2011

Everyone, this is a fun and educational link to an amazing article that looks at our vino enjoyment with a Physics approach. Cool Stuff.


Hope you enjoy, wanted to share. Thanks to Chris Gorog also!!

Bud Break in Napa

by on April 14, 2011

My good friend Caleb Dial sent me this picture of Bud Break in Napa Valley this morning and the season begins!! It is always an exciting time and a stressful time in wine country because this is one of the most critical times in the vineyard. The tiny buds are extremely exposed to many dangers and are in the infant stage of their life, protection is the key at the beginning!!

Bud Break in Napa

Bud Break in Napa

SFMOMA “How Wine Became Modern”

by on March 18, 2011


Amazing Littorai Dinner at Saison Restaurant

by on March 17, 2011

LittoraiWineMenuLast night was a featured wine dinner at Saison Restaurant in the Mission district of San Francisco. The focus of the night was the current release of the Littorai wines and the education of one of the best growers in the state. Listed below are the wines that were enjoyed this evening:


Wast the following 2008′s

Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay

Pivot Vineyard Pinot Noir

Platt Vineyard Pinot Noir

Thieriot Vineyard Pinot Noir

The Haven Pinot Noir

All from the Sonoma Coast and we had another surprise which was the Lemon’s Folly in 375 ML bottles. This wine is a Gewurztraminer blend that is beautifully aromatic and a great fleshy but dry texture. They only make this wine in 375 ML format and should be picked up by anyone who enjoys these varitetals and styles of wine.

Penny Wines are soon to be released on the market….

by on December 21, 2010

A new wine label featuring small production, high quality cuvee’s will be entering the wine market in the beginning of the new year. Penny Wines will be releasing its first cuvee “Willie Rariden” Pinot Noir 2009 from the Sonoma Coast. The basis of the wines are to source out some of the best fruit in California and produce regionally representative wines from those vineyards. The main focus of the winemaking is terroir identity and natural, hands off winemaking. There was only 68 cases of the this release produced, which is a tiny production of only three barrels. The wines are hand bottled and hand wax dipped, labeled by hand and delivered by the owners. Keep your eyes open for upcoming news and the Penny Wines Website, which will be the center to join the following.


The philosophy and design on the label and the brand spawn from a love of Baseball, collection of turn of the century tobacco cards and two friends. The owners love of Baseball and Burgundy brought the amazing wines in the Penny bottles to be named by fictional characters and histories. The bottles represent the first designs of baseball cards and the information that we found about the stats and the player. Each cuvee produced will be named after a different player and position, and ofcourse the stats will reflect that “players” performance for the year.

Penny Wines are a delicious and fun way to enjoy high-quality, small production wines from the best vineyard locations in California.

Play Ball!!!!!

Tasting with Frederic Drouhin

by on January 27, 2010

I recently tasted with the Director of Joseph Drouhin, Frederic Drouhin. It was a slightly rainy day in San Francisco which has been the norm for the last few weeks. We meet briefly and had a short talk about the history and the future of this famous Burgundy estate, which I am sure many of you have tried atleast once, hopefully. They are based in Beaune and were founded in 1880, after hundreds of years in the hands of the King of France and assorted Duke’s. An amazingly long history, almost as long as the collective distance of the many cellars that lie just meters below the town of Beaune.

The tasting was delightful, offering the reds before the whites as many producers organize their tastings from this region. We tasted five reds, my favorite lying in their Gevrey-Chambertin 06′, which is a blend of village vineyards and some of their 1er cru vineyards – a little rustic with some darker berried fruits and the fullest wine of the line-up. The other wines listed lightest to fuller, also showing quality and concentration: Santenay 07′, Chorey-les-Beaune 06′, Nuits-St-Georges 07′ and the Chambolle-Musigny 06′.

Domaine de Vaudon (Sorry for the blurry)

Domaine de Vaudon (Sorry for the blurry)

We proceeded to the white wines, eight in total and this was the most impressive portion of the tasting. All the wines are delicious, but they all have their distinct styles and structure. We stared with the Macon-Villages 08′, Saint Veran 08′ and the Chablis 07′, which were all open and oppulent in their youth. We then tasted his Chablis “Domaine de Vaudon”, which is a village AOC, but considered to be a higher lieu-dit vineyard by those who are familiar with this vineyard named after the 18th century watermill. The wine was filled with a great flinty quality and mineral, a small amount of citrus and tropical pineapple fruit – a delicious wine which will shine with food, especially oysters:) Moving along we next had the “Vaudesir” and “Les Clos” Grand Cru vineyards which stand to their elevated status. Both wines were fuller and richer than the previous (obviously) they have both seen oak and the “Les Clos” is from parcels which have not been plagued with disease in any recent history. We finished our afternoon tasting with the Puligny-Montrachet 07′, full yet not profound and ofcourse one of the flagship wines the Beaune “Clos des Mouches” Blanc 06′. The wine comes from a ripe vintage and if full bodied and rich, lots of fruit and mineral tones, hints of honey and caramel, but still not ready to drink in its prime.

Frederick wanted to share a story about how the “Clos des Mouches” Blanc came to be, and I couldn’t down the oppurtunity to learn, being a fan of the location. Frederic’s grandfather was preparing to plant this vineyard, but before he picked up a book on traditional planting techniques and practices of Burgundy – research is always good. Since this vineyard was classically planted to Pinot Noir, he was learning about some of the best ways to successfully achieve these goals. In reading he learned that it was common technique to plant some Chardonnay along with the Pinot Noir, so he proceeded with his task. A few years down the line a vintage offered a difficult situation – the Pinot Noir was ripe and harvested, but the Chardonnay was not ready and needed to hang longer and longer and longer. It came to a point were the red was already fermented and resting in cellar while they were picking the Chardonnay, not allowing the natural blending to take place. He wrote this wine off as house wine and bottled the two barrels produced. Down the road he began to consume this wine at home and soon realized that this wine was good, even amazing. From that point he decided to remove some of the Pinot Noir and replant Chardonnay and begin bottling this amazing vineyard!!!

It always amazes me how much we learn everyday. Hope you enjoyed this little story.

New Tasting at Bond Estates – Napa Valley

by on October 3, 2009

WOW, that is all I have to say about the tasting that I recently had the pleasure of attending with my good friend Noah Dranow at Bond Estates in Napa Valley. 

If anyone hasn’t heard yet of this amazing estate yet – then you are in for a treat. Not only are these wines amazing on the palate, but they are created by from some of the best vineyards in all of Napa Valley!!! There has been over 27 different vineyards being produced through their cellars and only 5 have been produced from those amazing lots, and that is with the most recent release!!

We were lucky enough to taste with Master Sommelier Paul Roberts (Krug Cup for us Sommeliers!!) and truly learn that all sights are from different soils and completely different origins – beyond most selections in the valley – check out the picture below – wines with the soils beneath them!!

IMG_0562Must we say more?? The 2006 Harlan was also stunning for those that are lucky enough to taste in its youth. By Mark Bright

A Visual Journey thru Monday Night Flight

by on June 26, 2009

Here are some pictures from our first event that took place at 5A5 Steak Lounge this past monday. I would like to thank all who attended it was a huge success. We had roughly 120-150 people show up and I think from the pictures you can see that everyone had a great time. Also I would like to thank the participating wineries and distributors who graciously poured their wonderful wines. Enjoy

MarkKris & DillonCannonballFunFritzMark & BeauregardsOur wine friendsDining room funKris and Brian

Amazing Day at Littorai

by on June 17, 2009

Hello everyone, I am going to speak a little bit about one of the best wine labels in the US – Littorai. I will also be touching on its creator and the genius behind one of the most progressive and Biodynamic properties in the wine world – Ted Lemon. 


The New Littorai Winery from the Vineyard

The New Littorai Winery from the Vineyard

It was a beautiful perfect Monday afternoon on the drive to Littorai. We were waiting outside where Ted came out to greet us with a gentle nature and ready to take us on a educational tour of his vineyards and the philosophies of Biodynamic winemaking. He started by grabbing a pitchfork and we were off to the vineyards. He began with a strong explanation of his vineyard philosophy and by the end of the day we knew that Biodynamic farming wasn’t a process but a way of life. Biodynamic farming is about fully natural sustainability in a property that is dependent on the natural and random life forces and plant life in a specific region and property. Ted explained his ideas and vineyard practices in great detail and showed us some of the most important tools he uses in his vineyards, such as the wild flowers growing amongst the vines and his very proud naturally organic compost piles aging and waiting for their turn to nourish the land. There are many different misconceptions about Biodynamics, but one thing is certain of this philosophy: those who practice Biodynamics have great understanding of their land and grapes. You can’t make great wine without great grapes and that is a Biodynamic producer’s main goal.

Ted Lemon in the vineyard.

Ted Lemon in the vineyard.


Learning what feeds the earth.

Learning what feeds the earth.

After an amazing tour of some of the most beautiful vineyards in Sonoma and some of the coolest (by degrees) in the state, we moved into the winery to taste the final product. We tasted through a long line of Pinot Noirs first: Sonoma Coast, Les Armes, Hirsch, Roman, Haven and One Acre. Ted’s Pinot Noir grapes are sourced from these sights, which stretch from Sonoma up to the reaches of the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County. We then began tasting the Chardonnays after the red because of their brilliant acidity and clean and refreshing qualities. The wines are expressive of their specific sights, mainly because of the winemaking decisions in the cellar. All wines are produced and selected for the highest quality and from there they are all put into barrels at the same time – the same barrels, in the same amounts, for the same length of time. This is truly a commitment to the expression of these sites and shows clearly in the delicious final bottlings. 

If you ever have the pleasure and the luck to taste one of these wines is will surely be an experience you won’t forget, especially with great food. These wines are made for pairing with an entire spectrum of foods and should be enjoyed with one of your upcoming great meals – it will only enhance your experience!!!

Thanks for reading and never stop searching for amazing wine, though it is rare that one like the Littorai wines are easily found.

What makes a healthy bunch after flowering.

What makes a healthy bunch after flowering.